Massage therapy was used as a healing method in ancient history. It began as a sacred system of natural healing. The history of massage has its footprint in both the eastern and western civilization, where our ancient ancestors found that massage could heal injuries, relieve pain, and cure illnesses. Today, massage therapy is an alternative method of healthcare practiced across the world. Here’s how massage therapy has emerged as a relaxing and therapeutic practice today.
How Massage Therapy Evolved
Egyptians discovered reflexology in 2500 BCE. In reflexology, pressure is applied to reflex zones on the feet and hands in order to relieve pain. Written records of the benefits of massage therapy were discovered in China in 2700 BCE. The history of massage in China is based on the principle that diseases arise due to an imbalance in your physiological systems. These techniques of Chinese massage therapy include acupuncture and acupressure that helps to regulate energy harmoniously throughout the body. Athletes in Greece derived massage therapy from Eastern philosophies and practices. It progressed in Greece in the eighth century BCE. The primary goal of massage therapy in Greece was to keep the bodies of athletes in peak condition before competitions. In Greece, massage therapy was employed using herbs and aromatic oils as beauty treatments on their skin.
Massage Therapy in the West
The history of massage therapy in the West takes us back to the colonial times. In America, massage therapy came into practice in the 1900s. The progress in the massage therapy industry was influenced by national and world events, advances in science and medicine, and religious and social movements. The following were the key contributors to the success of massage therapy that we see today.
Rubber was used in America in colonial times. It had a great influence on massage therapy. The basic techniques of using rubber were simple but were modified to produce different effects. Massage therapy using rubber includes joint movements to increase a wide range of motion to release muscle tensions.
In America, during the 1900s, magnetism was introduced into massage therapy. Magnets were used by passing them over the body with or without contact. In several cases, light touch and strokes were used to stimulate vital energy.
Hydropathy was introduced to massage therapy a few decades later. Bath attendants would use rubbing and friction as a part of the healing treatment. This led to the origin of spa services today, such as body wraps and scrubs.
Massage therapy went through a period of transformation between 1970 and 2000. It was looked upon as a medium to revive the body with natural healing. Apart from that, new approaches from Asia - including acupressure from China, Shiatsu from Japan and Ayurvedic massage from India - were followed in the US. The need for an alternative medicine contributed to the development of massage therapy that included diverse massage techniques. The history of massage has been instrumental to the current methods of treatment, with the benefits of massage therapy now clearer to all now than ever before.